Interlude - Soft Sheets
Buffy woke up.
After months of living in the harshness of the Sith Academy, Buffy had grown used to a hard slab of rock for a bed. The soft cushion beneath her was both welcome and alien.
Instinctively, Buffy got out of bed and began to smooth the sheets back down. Everything had to be nice and perfect. She had to be ready.
A footfall alerted her to someone by the window.
The woman turned around, and it was Faith!
All of a sudden, things became clearer. This bed wasn’t her bed. She wasn’t on Korriban or a ship or Dromund Kaas. This was only the third time she’d ever had one of these shared dreams, and this was the first time she’d had any sort of awareness of what was going on.
“We need to talk.”
Faith laughed. “Yeah, no kidding, B. Where’ve you been? The trains left Denova a while back. Did you find your stop at the other end?”
“I got off somewhere,” Buffy replied, going with the flow. “It was hot and sandy.”
“I found a nice place in the mountains,” Faith said, moving to stand by the window.
Buffy joined her. “The mountains here look like a hooded man staring down into the Valley. A dark man looking over his dark children.”
“Are you a dark child, B?”
“They want me to be one. I think I might be one. What about you?”
“The water here is nice. It’s cool and soothing. It pretends to be peaceful, and it wants to be. But it really isn’t.”
“Jedi?” Buffy guessed.
“Sith?” Faith retorted.
“They won’t ever learn, will they?”
“Will we?” Faith asked.
“I didn’t,” Buffy said, and she picked up a pillow off the bed and began to fluff it.
“What happened?” Faith asked as she picked up the other pillow.
“I had to be strong,” Buffy said, putting the pillow down and aligning it just right. “They wanted me to be stronger. The strong survive and the weak die.”
“The way of the world,” Faith said, arranging her pillow next to Buffy’s.
“I was strong, and they were weak,” Buffy said sadly. She vaguely felt like crying, but the tears didn’t come.
“Oh. Oh, no,” Faith said. She sat on the bed and gathered Buffy into her arms, laying the blonde Slayer’s head into her lap.
“They were in love,” Buffy said. “It happened so fast. I said I’d protect them.”
Faith nodded and stroked Buffy’s hair with her open fingers. “That’s what you do, B. You protect people.”
“No,” Buffy protested. “No, it’s not. A dark man wanted me to hurt, so he made me kill them. I want to kill him now, but I don’t want to be dark like that.”
“You won’t be,” Faith said with surety.
Faith was simultaneously confused and content. She wasn’t supposed to be the comforting type. She wasn’t supposed to be the one holding a Buffy that needed to cry, trying to tell her that everything would be all right.
And yet, here she was, doing just that. The sheets were getting all wet from the tears that trickled but did not flow. Faith would have to hang them out to dry later on. Buffy was what mattered now.
“I know what you’re going through, B.”
“No,” Buffy said with agony. “How could you?”
Faith took Buffy’s chin between her fingers and locked her green gaze onto her own brown eyes. “I know exactly what it’s like to kill someone without meaning to,” Faith said quietly. “The confusion afterwards, the elation, the thrill to know that you have this power over life itself, and all it takes to seize control of that power is to turn off the little voice in your head that says ‘this is wrong.’ You remember that, don’t you?”
Buffy picked up the white linen and wiped her eyes with it. Faith didn’t care that she’d need to wash it out later. Buffy needed it more.
“I forgot,” she said quietly.
Faith shrugged. “Being upset does that. The light men where I am think that emotions leads to darkness. Maybe it can make a sunny day cloudy from time to time, but I’d take a cloudy day over a non-existent day any… day. That came out weird.”
Buffy laughed, and Faith smiled at her more-than-friend’s happiness, however short-lived. “The dark men are just as foolish. They say there is no peace, but I remember peace.”
Faith noticed how quiet Buffy was, and with a start, Faith realized that Buffy was remembering her time in heaven. Damn, but how did you talk to someone who had gone through that?
“I’m so sorry.” She stroked Buffy’s hair some more and wiped a few tears from her cheeks. It wasn’t very Faith-like, but it seemed like the right thing to do. The bed was all a mess, so now she’d straighten Buffy’s hair. “Can I do anything to help?”
“You already are, Faith,” Buffy said with a content sigh. “This place… These dreams… I feel like we’ve been here more than we have. And when we’ve been here, it’s like the rest of the world doesn’t exist, and there’s no need to worry about it. Here, I can just be me, y’know?”
“Yeah, Buffy. I know.”
A subtle shift of Buffy’s head made Faith suddenly aware of the intimate position they were both in. Buffy was hot and all, but she was… She was Buffy! And this dream wasn’t about them. Well, it was, but not like that.
“Do you think we’ll ever get back home?”
“I dunno. Do you think we’ll find each other out there?”
“I really hope so.” Buffy shifted her head and breathed in the comforting scent of the apartment. It was a pleasant mix of air freshener, soft sheets, and Faith.
Buffy put on her mental breaks and backed up a few meters. Where had that come from? Was Faith-smell really such a good thing?
“What’re you thinkin’ about, B?”
“Huh? Oh, uh, I was just wondering how the gang back in Cleveland is doing.”
“Yeah, so am I. What’re you really thinking, Buffy?”
“Sorry.” Buffy felt so silly. “I just… This place, here, with you… It just feels right. It feels like more than it seems. And I want this to happen out there, without the war and the Force and other worlds. I just want a place to call home with you.”
“I think so,” Buffy said, not quite sure where she was going, but she went on anyway. “We’re stuck out here together. Only, we’re together here, in this place. If we can find each other out there, then we can team up and take on the universe together, right?”
“Yeah, I guess so. How’re we gonna do that?”
“I don’t know,” Buffy said. “But we are going to find each other, right?”
“Definitely. Hey, B?”
“I want to kiss you now.”
Buffy smiled and took her head out of Faith’s lap and looked into her eyes. “Why?”
Faith shrugged. “It feels right. May I?”
Buffy put a finger to Faith’s lips, shushing her as she reached up to kiss the brunette Slayer.
It was something kind of like love.
“That was nice,” Buffy said.
“Yes, it was,” Faith agreed. It had been very nice.
“I think I know you now,” Buffy said. “I mean, I knew you already, but I think I know you differently now.”
“I know what you mean,” Faith said. “I know you know me, and I know you, and you know I know you.”
“Do we really know that?”
“I don’t know.”
They both turned to look at the bed. “We made such a mess,” Faith said.
“Who’s going to clean it up?” Buffy asked.
“Room service can handle it. I think I have to go now. Lots to do.”
“Yeah, same here. There’s always something.”
“Ain’t that the truth,” Faith said with a smirk.
A knock came from the door.
“They’re here to make the bed,” Buffy said.
“We should let them in,” Faith said, reaching for the doorknob. “But we’ll both be back here again sometime soon.”
Buffy placed her hand over Faith’s. “We should try a new set of sheets.”
Faith turned the doorknob.
Buffy woke up.
NOTE: This chapter has been edited from its original version as of 10/26/2012.
I own nothing, as is usually the case.
I hope this chapter didn't seem too hackneyed or forced. I always intended for it to be a Buffy/Faith romance, and this is my first time writing such a pairing. If anyone has any advice on how to handle it better, I'm open to suggestions.
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Thank you for reading,and I hope you enjoy the story!